I wish I could see your face as you read this. Maybe it's best I can't. Grin? Or grimace? High five - or a stream of spank-worthy expletives? March snows are a Rorschach test for Minnesotans. Many find them annoying; I look at the maps and get encouraged.
Why? Last March brought 70s and 80s; the warmest March on record was an omen for record heat & drought later that summer.
Not so in 2013. A parade of storms into spring is required to pull us out of a potentially debilitating drought. Think of this as cold, white Manna from Heaven. Theoretically possible, until you get into your car.
We should have 4 to 5 inches of wet snow by tonight, another 2-4 inches early Tuesday. Plowable, but hardly crippling. Leave extra time, extra space on the freeways, and please tip your waiter.
Chicago picks up 8 inches, maybe 4-8 inches in Washington D.C. - which qualifies as a natural disaster. Mother Nature is about to sequester members of Congress.
We thaw out later this week; more sloppy snow brewing 1 week from today.
Most of this delightful, concrete-like slush will run off before it can soak into dusty topsoil. But some pain on the freeways now means drought may be easing.
* photo credit above: upper left: St. Cloud Times - upper right: Wikipedia.
.SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 10 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA AND FAR WESTERN WISCONSIN DEVELOPING TONIGHT AND LASTING THROUGH TUESDAY...AS A WINTER STORM MOVES ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND UPPER MIDWEST. SOME STORM TOTALS COULD APPROACH 12 INCHES DEPENDING ON WHERE PRIMARY SNOW BANDS SET UP. THIS SNOWFALL LOOKS TO BE SPLIT UP INTO TWO WAVES OF SNOW. THE FIRST WILL COME TONIGHT THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...WITH A SECOND ROUND EXPECTED MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES ARE EXPECTED TO DECREASE FOR A PERIOD MONDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING BETWEEN THESE TWO WAVES. ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TUESDAY... A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TUESDAY. * TIMING: TWO PERIODS OF MODERATE SNOW EXPECTED THIS EVENING INTO MONDAY MORNING AND AGAIN MONDAY NIGHT. SNOW WILL SLOWLY DIMINISH TUESDAY MORNING. * MAIN IMPACTS: SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 6 TO 10 INCHES. * OTHER IMPACTS: SOUTHEAST WINDS GUSTING TO AROUND 25 MPH WILL RESULT IN SOME BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW IN OPEN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Sputtering Along. A typical Alberta Clipper moves at 20-35 mph, leaving little time for snow to accumulate, in fact most clippers just whip up gusty winds which kick around the snow that's already on the ground. But this system is limping along at 10-15 mph, meaning a much longer period of snow from the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes; eventually regenerating into a coastal storm capable of dumping 5-10" or more on Washington D.C. New York City may be spared, with only an inch or two by Thursday, but it will be a very close call.
“These cuts would result in a gap in weather satellite coverage, diminishing the quality of weather forecasts and the warnings of severe weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes...These impacts directly affect NOAA employees and partners throughout the country: up to 2,600 NOAA employees would have to be furloughed, approximately 2,700 positions would not be filled, and the number of contractors would have to be reduced by about 1,400. If sequestration is enacted, NOAA will face the loss of highly trained technical staff and partners. As a result, the government runs the risk of significantly increasing forecast error and, the government's ability to warn Americans across the country about high impact weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will be compromised..".
A year of extremes: 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation, according to the U.S.Climate Extremes Index. The year had 11 disasters costing $1 billion or more. The only year on record that had more billion dollar disasters was 2011, which had 14. According to Munich Re, extreme weather caused $107.2 billion worth of damage in the U.S in 2012...."
Image credit above: "Suomi NPP is a weather satellite in low-Earth orbit—the only one the U.S. currently operates for civilian uses."
Photo credit above: "Drowning Islands Facebook fan Tracey Coleman took this before and after photo in San Clemente, California to highlight the before and after effect of the King tide. Of all the submissions received, this was my favorite - what a great shot."
Graphic credit above: "Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue). From Nuccitelli et al. (2012)."
Graphic credit above: Australia just experienced it's hottest summer season on record. The satellite-derived map above, from Australia's Burea of Meteorology, shows temperature anomalies for the first week of January. The dark red areas depict surface temperatures as much as 27 F. warmer than average. The Atlantic Cities has more details on a summer to remember.
Photo credit above: "Scientists have identified a link between global warming and extreme weather events such as heat waves." Photo by Flickr user perfectsnap
- Occupational: Given that local TV news is a
highly competitive business, some weathercasters fear that discussing
climate change could cast them or their stations in a negative light.
- Social: Because climate change is such a highly charged topic, there’s a natural tendency to avoid conflict by avoiding the subject.
- Cultural: Among the 35% of weathercasters in the above-mentioned survey who cited both natural and human factors in climate change, many stressed the uncertainties inherent in any research conclusion. Some also feared that politics might be affecting the research itself, including the ways in which scientists presented and discussed their policy-relevant findings. The 29% of weathercasters who viewed climate change as primarily natural had even deeper reservations about the process of climate science, including peer review and funding decisions..."